healthy (nut-free) granola bars.

We’re a few days into 2011, and it’s back to the grindstone. After a season of ultra rich, fatty and sugary foods, and lots of festive cheer, most of us are ready to turn a perennial new leaf of increased activity and healthier foods. As a nod to these well-intentioned resolutions — and an inclination to bake some healthy, tasty, high fiber snacks for my family — I’ve whipped up a batch of these delicious, nut-free granola bars.

home made gronal bars

a healthy snack, to keep all those resolutions on track.

These granola bars can be school-safe (notoriously nut-free zones), and your kids and fiber-phobes will never suspect that they’re actually nutritious, acting as a good source of fiber, protein, and vitamins and minerals including  vitamin E, folate, phosphorus, potassium, thiamin, zinc, magnesium, iron, and even calcium (if you use sesame seeds). These granola bars are a particularly excellent choice as a pre- or post-workout snack, to help you fuel-up or re-fuel after a grueling fit of fitness; they’ll deliver the protein, complex carbs and other nutrients your body needs to sustain your new (or ongoing) resolutions to exercise and get in shape.

home made energy bars

a blast of energy, protein, complex carbs and fruit: the perfect pre- or post-workout snack.

And of course, these granola bars are also completely void of corn syrup, palm oil, and all the unpronounceable additives included in many of the store-bought granola bars.

Healthy (Nut-Free) Granola Bars

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F


2 cups rolled oats
½ cup brown sugar, lightly packed
¼ cup wheat germ
¼ cup whole flax seeds
¼ cup dried unsweetened coconut
1 tsp cinnamon
1 cup whole wheat flour

½ cup raisins
¼ cup dried cranberries
2 tbsp sunflower seeds, hulled
2 tbsp pumpkin seeds
¾ tsp sea salt

½ cup honey
1 egg, beaten
1/3 cup melted butter
1/3 cup mashed ripe banana
2 tsp vanilla extract

healthy granola bars

no need to pay $6 for a box of 5 organic granola bars; make your own, with the perfect amount of your favorite ingredients and no pesky preservatives, fillers, palm oil or allergens.

Tips & Substitutions

  • You may wish to add to the baking time if you prefer a less chewy and more crunchy granola bar; I like mine chewy and moist, and after experimenting several times have settled upon a baking time of 24 minutes for the perfect, chewy granola bar. This time will also, of course, depend on your individual oven, so if you also are a lover of chewy granola bars keep watch from about the 20 minute mark to make sure they’re not over-baking and drying out.
  • Go ahead and substitute equal amounts of “goody” ingredients for whichever you prefer, such as:
    • Carob or chocolate chips, chopped dried apricot, or dried blueberries for dried cranberries;
    • Sesame seeds for sunflower seeds;
    • Chia seeds for flax;
    • Applesauce for mashed banana;
    • Melted coconut oil for melted butter;
    • Substitute some of the rolled oats with puffed rice or kamut for a little more of a crunchy texture
    healthy granola bars

    the exquisite tastes of butter, honey and vanilla form the flavor foundation of these granola bars; mix it up by including dried fruit, seeds or nuts of your preference.


    1. Grease a 9×13-inch baking pan.
    2. In large bowl, combine oats, brown sugar, wheat germ, flax, cinnamon, flour, raisins, dried cranberries, sunflower and pumpkin seeds, and salt; mix and form a well in the center.
    3. In medium bowl, whisk together honey, egg, melted butter, banana and vanilla.
    4. Pour honey mixture into the well created by the dry ingredients in large bowl; mix well.
    5. Lightly grease a fork or your hands and fingers with butter, then pat down the granola bar dough evenly into the pan.
    6. Bake in preheated oven (350 degrees F) for 24 minutes for chewy bars; you may need more or less time depending on your oven and how chewy you like your granola bars.
    7. Cool in pan for 5 minutes. While still warm, cut into bars or squares of whatever size you desire; makes 16 “granola bar-sized” bars.

      healthy (nut-free) granola bar

      the healthy snack that won't get sent back: wrap it in a little wax paper and send along a tasty (nut-free) granola bar in the little tyke's lunch-bag.

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  1. These are awesome! Very tasty. Won’t be buying them from the grocery store anymore…Thanks for posting. :)

    • sweetgirl

      Thanks! Great to hear you like them; and the best part is that you can add all your favorite dried fruit, nuts, seeds or chips! I haven’t tried dipping them in melted chocolate, but that would amp up the yummy-ness, too!!

  2. hockeychick

    Do you know what the calories are per bar in this recipe. I cannot find anything on this page about it

    • sweetgirl

      Hi there. So I just punched this recipe into a handy nutricook software program that I have… And here are the stats…

      Servings Per Recipe: 16 (122 oz each)

      Calories – 260

      Total Fat – 8.1g
      Saturated Fat – 3.4 g
      Trans Fat – 0g

      Potassium – 257mg
      Fiber – 4.6g
      Sugar – 21g
      Protein – 6.2g

      Thiamin – 26%DV
      Vitamin A – 4%
      Vitamin E – 3%
      Calium – 3%
      Zinc – 18%
      Folic Acid – 8%
      Iron – 12%

      • claudia

        wow! thank you so much for the nutrition info! no i don’t even have to feel guilty about eating them!

        • sweetgirl

          You’re welcome! They definitely are an easy, tasty treat, no guilt required. Bon appetit!

      • 21g of Sugar per serving? That’s seems like an awful lot. Is that number correct?

      • love the recipe. I am working on a food project and have been searching a good software to calculate nutrition facts info, what is the name of the software you have? Thanks.

        • sweetgirl

          Hi Grace, Unfortunately the software isn’t available anymore! Not sure why, because it was really excellent.

  3. I have a daughter allergic to nuts. And, unfortunately, I haven’t been able to find whole flaxseeds or sunflower seeds that were not processed on equipment that also processes nuts. So, while they don’t contain nuts, they could set off a reaction in someone who is allergic. So, please read labels before bringing these as a school treat!

    • I am also allergic to nuts. I found at Sprouts if you buy the raw pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds they are not processed around nuts. They must only have one oven! I thought raw yuck, but they are actually very good. I also read that they are much more healthy raw!

  4. Katie most schools that have nut free policies don’t allow homemade foods for that reason.

    • sweetgirl

      While I can certainly understand that children’s food allergies are a very serious issue, it’s quite sad that parents would not be permitted to send their child with homemade snacks, and instead must send processed, packaged, industry-produced, preservative-laden, expensive foods. There’s got to be a better solution…

      • Thank you for the heads up on schools not allowing children to take homemade snacks to school. I have a picky eater, and its hard to find snacks for him that the school approves of, that are also nut free. I hate having to resort to the processed food. I can’t even send him raisins as a snack. Labeled nut free…but it’s a sticky food. Do the schools not think that are children do brush their teeth at home.

  5. Hi there! I came across your granola bar recipe while searching for nut-free granola. I have a son (in college) who is allergic to tree nuts, but IS able to eat peanuts. I’m wondering about some variation of the recipe to include peanut butter, choc chips, and the mashed banana…doesn’t that sound delish? Your suggestions would be most appreciated. :)

    • sweetgirl

      Hi Beth,

      You could certainly substitute any amount of the seeds for peanuts or chocolate or carob chips, and I often will sub some of the oil for mashed banana or applesauce – YUM! For a slightly less sweet version, you could substitute half of the amount of honey for peanut butter. The beauty of this recipe is that you can let your imagination (and taste buds) go wild. It’s very experiment-friendly as long as you maintain the overall ratios of dry/wet ingredients and “goodies.” Enjoy!!!

  6. I’ve never heard of a school that thought homemade treats were more of a risk to allergy kids than pre-packaged foods. Nuts are nearly everything that comes in a box or bag! The safest thing you can do is educate your child. All that “nut-free” zones do is create false security. Do you honestly think no one is going to bring anything that was processed with, on equipment, contains traces of, or has a nut ingredient in it?! And as a former teacher, I can tell you labels aren’t being read at school. The bit about setting someone off just because the flax is processed with nuts is bunk. Companies have to put that even if was 50 years ago that nuts were used and two, when a child simply smells it and has a “reaction” it’s actually a panic attack. The allergen has to be putting off fumes (like steam when it cooks), dander (from pets), or touch a mucous membrane. I think these are great! Thanks,
    mom of 2 peanut, tree nut, milk, eggs, dairy, seafood, and shellfish for 5 years.

    • Our school is a “nut free” school. We are not allowed to send nuts or seeds to school. I asked about the seeds and was told that there is no guarantee that the sunflower seeds for example were processed in a nut free facility or if bought at a bulk store that the bin wasn’t cross contaminated.

      The school has gone so far as to ask for no products containing coconut since some children with “nut” allergies can also be allergic to coconut – WHICH ISN’T even a nut! We can’t send Sunflower butter or even the Soybutter product “WOW” since it looks too much like peanut butter and could cause other children to tell their parents to send peanut butter products.

      I have sent homemade cooked pumpkin and squash seeds without any hassles, but had to include a post it for the teachers stating they were homemade so that they weren’t bagged up and sent home with the friendly not reminding us not to send nuts and seeds.

      Our school also encourages parents NOT to send home made items in lunches. Since the teachers check every lunch they prefer to have the NUT FREE symbol on the package or it may be sent home. Some teachers are okay with it, but others have disallowed home made baked goods at all in their classroom. I do understand the concern, but I don’t want my children’s lunches filled up with packaged processed junk.

      • sweetgirl

        It is a sad state of affairs when home made food is discouraged!!! I’m doubtful that all these allergies we’re now seeing are from wholesome, naturally grown, non-gmo foods. The irony is, it’s highly likely that it is all these processed, packaged, “easy” pseudo-foods our culture pushes towards kids that are responsible for the spike in allergies. Tisk-tisk.

        S. Clark, I really feel for you. Fortunately, at my kids school, they don’t discourage home made, and are not nearly as restrictive with the seeds and nut alternatives (yet). Even still, it is difficult to send non-meat, non-soy proteins for our kids these days!

  7. musicgal_18

    This is delicious! I substituted the egg using ground flaxseed mixed with water, and the honey with maple syrup! Also tried a cranberry/dark chocolate/ sunflower version..Excellent, thanks for the recipe!

    • sweetgirl

      Awesome! I’ll have to try that substitution – thanks for the tip!!!!

    • I’m also looking to makes these granola bars for someone who also has an egg allergy (and dairy – I’m planning on using dairy-free margarine in place of butter). How much ground flax/water did you use? I know that ground flax + soy milk also tends to be a good egg substitute.

  8. Thank you for this recipe, it looks delicious! I have been looking for a nut free granola bar recipe that is also healthy for qutie awhile. My daughter is allergic to eggs in addition to nuts so I was hoping that Musicgal_18 could share the proportion of ground flax/water that she used as a substitution.

    • musicgal_18

      I agree Krista, it’s hard to find a nut free granola bar… i’m also allergic to nuts, so this is a great recipe…
      I think i did 1 tbsp ground flaxseed to 3 tbsp to water… seemed to work at the time! bon appetit!

    • I also have a son with both egg and nut allergies. In the past I’ve used this combo to substitute for 1 egg: 1 1/2 T. water, 1 1/2 T. oil, and 1 tsp. baking powder, whisked together. Works great in baking, but only in recipes calling for 1 or 2 eggs. It even has the consistency of egg whites when whisked. I’ll try it with this and see how it works.

  9. I was looking for a high fiber, low sugar recipe for granola bars last night and came across yours. I made it last night and it’s great. Both of my little girls love it and I’m hoping this will keep them a little more “regular”. I left out the brown sugar and the wheat germ (didn’t have any wheat germ), subbed coconut oil for the butter and applesauce for the banana, used more dried cranberries instead of raisins, and added a few tablespoons of poppy seeds and millet for crunch. Thanks for the great recipe, we’ll definitely be adding this to our regular lineup!

    • sweetgirl

      Super! So pleased you enjoyed it – thanks for letting me know.

    • could use chia seeds too. they are crunch and add protein and fibre

  10. I must say, for my first attempt at making granola bars, these couldn’t have turned out any better! I added about 3 tablespoons of peanut butter and 1 oz. of unsweetened baking chocolate, plus a little maple syrup because I ran out of honey. Absoluutely fabulous! Thanks so much for the recipe. I will be sure to recommend it to all of my cooking friends.

    • sweetgirl

      Glad to hear you enjoyed it and that you put your own special touch on the recipe! :)

  11. Melissa Calvert

    Can you please tell me how to store these and how long will they last before going bad? Also, can they be frozen?

    Thanks, Melissa

    • sweetgirl

      Hi Melissa,

      I store my granola bars in an air-tight container – glass lock or tupperware – and (honestly) they’ve never lasted long enough to go bad in my house… they’re always gone within three or four days. I’d say you could keep them at least week in an air-tight container in a cool spot before losing their chewiness or succumbing to mold.

      I’ve never tried freezing the granola bars, but they should be fine, keeping in mind that it’s always super important to remove as much air as possible and to store in an air-tight container before freezing anything, and also that flavor and/or texture usually suffers a tiny wee bit when you freeze food. I’ll try freezing a few next time I make them and report back; and if you freeze yours, I’d love it if you let me know how they fared.

      In the meantime, thanks for checking out my blog and happy baking!


  12. Kristy

    These look so tasty! What brand of dried cranberries do you use? All the ones I can find contain HFCS. Thanks!

    • sweetgirl

      I can’t think of it at the moment (don’t have any right now) – but I always buy them in the natural foods section, either unsweetened or sweetened with apple juice, as the big brands usually are sweetened with syrup or sugar. I’ll update the post with the brand when it comes to me :)

  13. These are just what I have been looking for. The others I make can”t go with the kids to school. I will try these but add some chia seeds for crunch and extra protein and fibre.

  14. Laura S

    What is this handy dandy software “nutricook” you speak of? Sounds useful

    • sweetgirl

      Hey there! Nutricook is software I discovered four years ago when my firstborn first started eating solids – I wanted to make sure she was getting all the nutrients she needed, since she had some food sensitivities (dairy, soy). I purchased it and downloaded it onto my computer.

      It is by a company called Chefnology, and I still use it (not for every meal of course) but to check out the nutritional content of my recipes and some the meals we enjoy as a family. It has a database of thousands of ingredients, and you can even add your own.

      …but as I search for the link to give you, it looks like it is unavailable to buy – zut!

      • Thanks anyway for the info. maybe something else on-line i could find Sure would help for home recipes

  15. This looks like a great recipe. I would like to add protein powder in it as well, any suggestions on how to incorporate that without making them too dry? Maybe increasing the oil or banana?

    • sweetgirl

      Hi Jen, I haven’t tested this, but I would try substituting a portion of the flour for the protein powder you want to add, but not more than 30% of the flour (in the recipe above 1/3 cup). Since they’re both dry ingredients of similar consistency you should be able to make this substitution without affecting the moisture of the bars too much.

      And yes, to add more moisture, I’d add more banana or add some applesauce – much healthier option than adding more oil.

      Good luck, and please let me know how the experiment goes!


  16. Great recipe! I make it every 2 weeks since I discovered the recipe. I substituted the pumpkin seeds with sesame seeds and added some chia seeds as well.

    Very healthy snacks or even breakfast substitute when in a hurry in the morning!

    The kids love them but prefer them a bit more sweet so I sometimes (not too often) switch the cranberries with 1/4 cup of semi-sweet mini chocolate chips or 1/8 cup of toffee bits… that’s a win all the way! Daddy gets more cooking points :-)

    I have not tried replacing the banana with apple sauce yet, but will try it soon for a change :-)

  17. Thank you for the recipe. It’s very versatile as you mention. Kids loved it. Below is a link to a great website to calculate nutritional value. You can basically cut & paste the ingredients into the application and with a few edits, you have the analysis and a grade rating. Very easy to use.


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